Category: Prayer Letter

Summer 2015

Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. –  1 Timothy 4:11-13

One of the more exciting things in mission work is seeing young men and women grow up to be leaders and shepherds of the people of God. However, it’s bitter-sweet: we’re excited to see the Gospel going forward, and at the same time, we’re reminded of the dire need for solid teaching and training for the leaders themselves!

Democratic Republic of Congo

This year, our 2015 Congo Bible Camp was held during Easter instead of during the usual summer vacation.

Aaron & Josh prepping for teaching time.

Aaron & Josh prepping for teaching time

This enabled us to reach attendees who had never had the opportunity to come to our conference in the past. Our focus of study for the week was the book of 1 Peter and the suffering we endure as we await our imperishable glory. Praise God that the teaching was well received, motivating the attendees to be faithful in the face of earthly hardships.  We were happy to welcome back Yves Besso and Aaron Kuglin to help with the teaching. Aaron was joined by his wife Kristi and their 6 month old daughter. We were also grateful to have Josh Bonjour with us. He is the pastor of New Life Deaf Fellowship, a church for the deaf right here in Fort Worth, Texas! We’re grateful that the Lord has brought together CMD and New Life Deaf Fellowship, and are praying that our collaboration will be a long-term endeavor.

At next year’s conference, we’ll be tackling 2 Peter and taking a stern look at false doctrine. Prosperity gospel thinking, in particular, is growing like wildfire all over Africa, and the deaf are not exempt from the temptations of material wealth. Over the past year, we’ve seen a number of deaf leaders in various cities embrace and begin to teach it, doing great damage by confusing the flock. Pray for us that God will give us wisdom to meet this issue head-on. Pray that we will faithfully present the truth of Scriptures and that the attendees will learn the necessity for rigorously examining each and every new doctrine that comes along – and firmly reject those preaching these false doctrines.

The highlight of our trip was listening to several of the young men talk about the schools they have founded for the deaf near their home towns. These men know firsthand the need to bring the light of the Gospel to their fellow deaf countrymen – and they know that if they don’t act, no one will. So with the direction of trusted advisors, these young men have struck out on their own to open schools in cities where the deaf have no access to education, and would otherwise never hear the name of Jesus Christ! There are three men in particular I would like for you to pray for:

  • Chance Bakunzi studied at our school in Goma and now serves as the director of a new school in Rutshuru, about an hour north of Goma. With the assistance of Jimmy Ntaumenya, they operate a school of about 30 deaf students. The region is a hotbed of violence and guerrilla activity from the dissident group “M23”.  One of Chance’s frequent requests is for sponsorship to go to a Bible school. He is frustrated at the lack of easy-to-read Bible material that delves into deep doctrine. Invariably, the doctrinal material he gets is both simple to read and simplistic in its doctrine – and much of it comes from dubious sources. Next time I’m in his region, I’ll bring more books on systematic theology. They’re hard for him to read, but he’s promised he’ll spend the energy necessary to read and comprehend it all. No trivial task!
  • Shukuru Hertier studied at our school in Uvira, and, with the oversight of Pililo Amani (the director of our school in Uvira), he now heads up a school in the city of Fizi, about two hours south of his home town of Uvira. About 25 deaf students are enrolled in his school.
    School for the deaf in Kavumu, DR Congo

    School for the deaf in Kavumu, DR Congo

    The parents of the deaf children would rather spend their hard-earned money on their hearing children, and are reluctant to spend any money on their deaf children. Shukuru and his co-worker have no financial sponsors or income, and live day-to-day by the mercies of God.

  • Jean Pajo studied at our school in Bukavu. With the assistance of former schoolmates, he started a school in Kavumu, about an hour northwest of Bukavu.A prominent city leader in Kavumu was interested in his work and now serves on the school’s board. We had the privilege of visiting his school and were stunned on multiple levels. Incredibly, he had leased a building on the main street, purchased three sewing machines for vocational training, purchased a laptop for school administration, and pays a meager salary to his co-workers – all out of his own pocket! Impressive work for a 25-year old deaf man! Although school was out of session when we visited, we were fortunate enough to come across one of his students, a 17-year old who never received any kind of formal education till this year. The young man was overjoyed to see foreigners interested in his education. When he greeted us, he gestured “I don’t know sign-language,” but it was obvious to see that he was learning how to communicate – and it was just a matter of time till Jean’s training would get him to understand abstracts like “God”, “Jesus”, “sin”, and “salvation”.

All three of these men (and there are more like them) are in challenging situations, living day-to-day with uncertainty about the future. They want to do so much more, but lack school supplies, funds and most of all, thorough Biblical grounding. Pray that these young men would remin rooted, grow in their wisdom, keeping a close watch on themselves and their teaching (1 Tim 4:16), and desire above all else to see Christ glorified in their service for Him.

Madjibe Taigone

Madjibe Taigone – Faithful worker for over 30 years

Chad

We mourn the loss of Brother Madjibe Taigone. He was one of several young men trained by Dr. Foster in Nigeria in 1986, and has faithfully shepherded the deaf in Chad for these past 30 years. He passed away after undergoing bladder surgery in the first week of June. Pray for his wife and nine children.

Home

We had a bit of a health scare last month. Mother Berta was rushed to the hospital with stroke-like symptoms. Thankfully, it was a false alarm, and she is now resting well with my sister Faith. Continue to pray for Faith and her family as they extend loving care to our mother.

In Him,

Tim Foster

Christmas 2014

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor – Luke 4:18-19

As Christmas draws near, our hearts are turned to reflect on the birth of our Savior and this special ministry He has entrusted to us. Indeed, we are privileged to see the Gospel going forth in proclamation of spiritual liberty to the captives. We praise Him to see the blind regain their sight. We rejoice in the liberty of the oppressed, and we are humbled when we consider that our glorious Lord has elected to show His favor upon us both now and when He comes again. May His Name be continually praised for the great things He has done! (Is 12:1-6)

Nigeria

Although it’s still a year out, plans are underway for the 55th anniversary next December. It’s hard to believe that it was in 1960 that my father, Dr. Andrew Foster, opened the first of several schools for the deaf in Nigeria. From those few schools and churches for the deaf, literally tens of thousands of deaf Nigerians have not only gained an education, but more importantly, have had their spiritual ears opened and learned to call on the name of Jesus Christ! We praise God that He has seen fit to use CMD to bring so many Nigerians into His fold.

Nigerian Construction Continues

Nigerian Construction Continues

Making Bricks in Nigeria

Making Bricks in Nigeria

In the past two decades, we’ve seen explosive growth in church-planting. From the two deaf churches planted in Lagos and Nigeria, the deaf leaders have struck out on their own, expanding the network of CMD churches. At this time, there are over 25 self-sustaining churches for the deaf across the country, and plenty of opportunities for planting even more churches. The enthusiasm and sacrificial collaboration we’ve witnessed among the Nigerians is a model that we would love to see in other countries. Pray for us as we work to replicate this kind of growth.

Along with the growth in church planting comes the dire need for leadership training. A few of the deaf leaders have completed university-level Bible study programs, but the need surpasses the supply. The greatest hindrance today is the lack of scholarships, as many of the deaf cannot afford to attend university or Bible college. Pray that God will supply this need, and that many well-qualified leaders will rise to the challenge of shepherding His sheep.

Construction of the new campus continues as funds allow. The first of the dormitories is near completion, and several classrooms and multi-purpose buildings are well underway. There is still much that remains to be done, and we’re anxiously looking forward to God providing the means for construction to continue.

Chad

Director Yves Beosso reports that electricity is now available in Walia, the village on the outskirts of N’Djamena. Till now, our school’s only source of power has been generators – an expensive option. Having electricity as a utility service will be a huge blessing. Over the past few weeks, faithful friends of CMD have done special fund-raising to help cover the $500 utility fee to bring electricity to our school. We’re praying that the school will be online before the end of the year.

Earlier this summer, Yves received an invitation from Deaf Ministries International (DMI) to give a lecture at their annual international conference held in Seol, Korea. We thank the Lord for allowing him to share with an international audience, and pray that DMI will be a vehicle through which Yves’ insights will be spread to other deaf ministries around the world.

 

Democratic Republic of Congo / Burundi

Our summer conference in Bukavu was a heart-warming success, and we thank you for your prayers! We’re thankful that attendance was a little higher than usual, but what really fired our zeal was the strong response to the teaching material. This year’s topic was the Supremacy of Christ, and we taught from the book of Colossians. I was a little concerned that the first couple of chapters would be too thick on theology, and not readily received.

Congo Bible Camp 2014

Congo Bible Camp 2014

To my pleasant surprise, not only did they grasp the complexities we taught, but they responded with many profound questions about the nature of Christ, the Trinity and the practical application of these theological truths. A large part of the teaching success is due to this year’s small group structure organized by fellow missionary Rene Lindquist. Additionally, the Lindquists were able to arrange for a short-term mission team from Michigan, USA, to help us out for a few days while they worked with other mission projects. We’re so thankful for their contribution, and so thrilled to see the Word of God bearing fruit in their lives.

For our 2015 conference, we’re exploring options for meeting in the neighboring country of Burundi, at the school Dr. Foster opened in the ‘70s. Pray for wisdom as we try to attract more Rwandan and Burundi attendees.

Two of our deaf young men have helped start new schools for the deaf in the cities of Rutshuru and Fizi. They are hard-pressed for finances and resources to meet the needs of the deaf. Also, many of the deaf in the region are negatively influenced by the growing influence of prosperity-gospel missionaries and preachers. Pray that the deaf will stand strong, resist the false doctrine, and lean on God alone.

Home

This December, my wife and I will be taking two of our kids to Washington DC. I’ve been asked to be the keynote speaker for a Nigerian deaf awareness conference, and will also use the time to bring our family to see some of the historical sights of DC. Pray for a safe trip and effective conference. Mother Berta is taking life one day at a time in the comfort of Faith’s home, and looking forward to her children and grand children visiting this Christmas season.

Thank you for your continued prayers!

In Him,

Tim Foster

Spring 2014

We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ. And for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me. – Col 1:28-29

It’s truly a joy to interact with deaf Africans who have a robust understanding of the word of God. Seeing them take on a leadership role and guide others in a spirit of humility and grace is truly a beautiful thing. But regrettably, it’s not a very common thing. This is our ultimate goal and passion: to prepare the deaf for spiritual leadership roles within their communities, and equip them to make disciples for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

DW-20140430-Q1-TSNigerians

Meeting with deaf Nigerians
enrolled in a Texas university

DW-20140430-Q1-2014ChadCamp

18th Annual Chad Bible Camp

DW-20140430-Q1-IbadanWell

Donated solar-powered well &
water storage tank in Nigeria

DW-20140430-Q1-AlessandraGrad

First Foster grandchild graduates from college

 

Nigeria

Every year, our deaf high-school students in Ibadan participate in the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and the National Examinations Council (NECO). Students with high scores are able to proceed to universities in Nigeria and beyond. Recently, a few Nigerians have been able to enroll at SouthWest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf (SWCID) in Big Spring, Texas. As it turns out, SWCID is located about 4 hours west of our CMD headquarters in Texas! Last week, my wife and I drove there to visit the deaf Nigerians. It was a good time of fellowship and encouragement. Pray that more graduates may be able to attend SWCID in the future.

Construction of the new campus steadily inches forward. We’ve received a grant for 100,000 Euros from Siegworks Construction. Praise God! Another fantasic blessing came from a supporter who installed a solar-powered well. Having water on site will help greatly as construction continues at the new the campus.

After many years of service and numerous repairs, our center’s electric generator is now in dire need of replacement. The Commissioner’s for Women’s Affairs and Social Welfare has kindly donated a 6500W generator. It’s not powerful enough to run the entire facility, but we’re thankful that it helps take a load off the aging primary generator.

Chad

Over 220 people attended the 18th Annual Easter Camp for the Deaf. Most attendees had to travel to get to the city of Doba. Although the facility had a shortage of utensils and ran out of water on the 1st day, God showed His loving kindness by having local churches bring in water and utensils to meet the needs of the campers. We praise God that 19 people made a commitment to follow Christ. Pray that they will continue in discipleship.

When some village officials heard about the camp, they brought in 50 deaf people from outlying villages in the region. These deaf villagers had never received a formal education, and were stunned to see so many people, deaf like themselves, yet with advanced education and the ability to read, write and communicate about things they read in a Book. Pray that these deaf villagers will be able to attend a proper deaf school and learn to read, write – and hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

As in Nigeria, our Chad school has recently received financial support from some unlikely sources. The US Embassy visited our school in the capital city of N’Djamena one week before the Easter camp, and promised to help with the reconstruction of some deteriorated buildings. Most of the buildings at our center are made of mud-brick (as are most buildings in that part of town). The embassy delegates want to replace four of the deteriorated mud buildings with concrete buildings. Pray that they will follow through on their commitment when construction gets underway this August. While the embassy will be carrying the majority of the costs, we still need to raise several thousand dollars to complete the projects. Pray with us that the Lord will provide.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Staffing at our annual Congo Bible Conference will be interesting this year: A team of 15 people from Michigan – most of whom have never been to Africa – will be traveling in the Kivu region (eastern DR Congo) to help with two hearing conferences, as well as our deaf conference in Bukavu. There is also a possibility that a deaf American from Colorado will join our team. This year, we’re going through the book of Colossians, and placing more emphasis on small-group discussions to help the deaf assimilate the material we’ll be teaching. We want to capitalize on the additional help by increasing our budget so more deaf Congolese can afford to come. Pray that the Lord will provide mightily, as local transportation is the largest line-item in our conference budget. Pray also for the Michigan team: Traveling in the DR Congo is not exactly safe, and certainly not for the faint of heart.

Our school in Uvira has had some changes in staffing. Director Pililo Amani has added a young deaf high-schooler as a teacher for the primary classes, and so far, he’s doing well. They still have a need for sewing machines to teach tailoring and to make uniforms. Pray that God will meet this need.

Our school in Likasi, led by Director Mwamba Pascal, has a pressing need for a computer. We have several laptops on hand that I will be brining to the DR Congo this summer, but because our Likasi school is so remote, it’s far cheaper for our director to travel several hours south to Zambia and buy a computer there. Our missionary friend in Likasi, Ruth Willenbrecht, has helped locate a good deal. Pray that God will meet this need.

Home

Mother Berta is staying with us this week while my sister, Faith, is in New York to attend the graduation of her oldest daughter. Alessandra is the first of the Foster grandchildren to graduate from college. Following hot on her heels is our oldest daughter [name withheld]. Lord willing, she will be going overseas next year to work full-time with an evangelical ministry doing outreach to Muslims. Pray for these two as they strike out on their own, that God will continue to bless them and keep them and make His face to shine upon them, and give them peace.

In Him,

Tim Foster

Christmas 2013

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return ​​​​​​​and come to Zion with singing; ​​​​​​​everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; ​​​​​​​they shall obtain gladness and joy, ​​​​​​​and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. ​​ –  Isaiah 35:10

As we enter the winter months, we’re reminded of the prophet Isaiah’s message to the people of God: ​​​​​​​“Strengthen the weak hands, ​​​​​​​and make firm the feeble knees. ​​​ Say to those who have an anxious heart, ’Be strong; fear not! ​​​​​​​Behold, your God ​​​​​​​will come with vengeance, ​​​​​​​with the recompense of God. ​​​​​​​He will come and save you.’ ​​​​​​​​​​​Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, ​​​​​​​and the ears of the deaf unstopped; ​​​​​​​​​​​then shall the lame man leap like a deer, ​​​​​​​and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.” Isaiah calls his audience to take heart and look to the Lord for salvation. Paul repeats the same message to the Thessalonians, calling us to take courage and remember that the Lord will come for His people and save them from their oppressors (2 Thess 5-10). This Christmas season, may our hearts be encouraged by remembering that our Lord is not slack concerning His promises, and that He will one day replace sorrow and sighing with gladness and joy.

Congo Bible Camp

Praise God for another successful Bible camp! In this prayer letter, I’d like to give an inside peek on some methods we use when conducting a Bible camp for the deaf.

The topic of our 6th annual Congo Bible Camp was the Gospel of Mark. About 50 attendees from three countries were in attendance. Most were from the DR Congo cities of Bukavu, Uvira, Kalemi, Goma and Rutshuru. About ten of the attendees were from the neighboring countries of Rwanda and Burundi. Our numbers were a little lower than we anticipated, primarily due to travel costs. Some of the attendees traveled as far as 15 hours to get to the camp, and most cannot afford the cost of travel.

Congo Bible Camp - 2013

Congo Bible Camp – 2013

Pililo, Rob, Yves, Tim and Aaron

Pililo, Rob, Yves, Tim and Aaron

Regional Director of Education, Vice-Mayor of Bukavu, and Uvira School Director

Regional Director of Education, Vice-Mayor of Bukavu, and Uvira School Director

The teaching time is always my favorite part. Because the deaf in the Congo have a shortage of solid spiritual leadership, many of them are starving. They are very knowledgeable about a variety of stories all throughout the Bible, but they consistently lack Biblical depth: a comprehensive understanding of the Bible itself remains elusive; the character, nature and actions of God are often preplexing; abstracts that deal with Biblical themes, systematic theology or God’s overall plan of redemptive history are largely unknown to them. When our teaching touches on these subjects, we get flooded with excellent questions – but that’s where things get sticky. Although all the attendees speak sign-language, clear communication is a persistent challenge because of the variation of education levels and variety of sign language across these far-flung cities. When it comes to teaching a complicated passage (for example, Jesus’ conversation with the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7:24-30), great care must be taken to properly communicate the subtle nuances and implications of the text. But God is merciful: For the past few years, God has allowed a Congolese teacher of the deaf, John Gakuru, to attend our conferences. He teaches at the the deaf school in Goma and is a certified interpreter – fluent in English, French, Swahili and sign-language. When things got sticky, he was ready and willing to help us communicate some of the more complicated passages.

This year, to address these persistent challenges, we chose the Gospel of Mark. It’s short and direct, and would allow us to cover the entire book in one week, paying careful attention to not just the individual stories and parables, but also the overarching storyline, themes and truths presented in this Gospel. This allowed us to repeatedly demonstrate how the whole of the Gospel is greater than the sum of its parts.

We also brought in a variety of teachers. Yves Beosso, the director of our school in Chad, taught several of the main sessions.  As a deaf African, he had a connection with the Congolese that we Americans simply couldn’t match, and raised the bar for what the Congolese could expect in a deaf African spiritual leader. We praise God for the kind gifts of His people that allowed us to pay for Yves’ airline tickets. We also brought two Americans interested in work among the deaf: Rob Slack and Aaron Kuglin. Dividing up the teaching this way allowed for us to cover much ground in a short amount of time.

To further bridge the language gap, we gave each attendee a specially printed tri-lingual Gospel of Mark. Each page had a column in English, French and Swahili. Since most of the attendees read and write in a mixture of the languages, this special printing helped them to better understand the passages by comparing languages side-by-side. We designed the booklets with wide margins, and used them to help teach good Bible study methods: underlining main thoughts; writing comments and questions in the margins, etc. We thank God for allowing Judd Kile to provide the printing of these Gospels. He’s a friend of our local co-workers Tom & Kathy Lindquist, and his contribution was greatly appreciated by the campers.

Kathy and Renee Lindquist had hands-on crafts to help reinforce the parables in Mark. Pililo Amani, the director of our school in nearby Uvira, led each of the morning devotionals. Aaron taught a special session on worship, and Yves taught a special session on the end times. These special sessions were met with great interest. Aaron and Yves covered much new ground and addressed many misunderstandings. By the end of the week, we had covered the entire Gospel of Mark fairly thoroughly, and along the way, addressed many doctrinal questions.

The camp wasn’t entirely a bed of roses: We were badgered by the ANR, a governmental group responsible for investigating meetings held in the Congo.

Their goal was to interrupt us with excessive red tape, hoping we would bribe them to go away. Local pastors from the Berean Mission got involved to help us out, and unfortunately spent two days and many hours being interrogated at gunpoint. The issue was finally resolved when the Berean pastors agreed to pay $100 to the ANR agents. But God has a way of turning trials to gold. The vice-mayor  of Bukavu and the regional director of education came and visited our camp and to apologize for the difficulties we experienced with the ANR. They were quite impressed to see deaf adults reading, writing, communicating, studying and learning – so much so that they invited us to collaborate with them to open a school for the deaf in Bukavu. They even offered to hire a deaf graduate to work in the mayor’s office. Needless to say, the deaf were quite thrilled to hear this announcement. Praise God for this wide-open door!

Pray with us that the deaf in the Congo will continue to study God’s Word and will continue to press themselves on to a deeper understanding of the manifold riches of God in Christ. Pray with us that we will be able to find staffing to re-open a school in Bukavu.

On the Home Front

Berta’s hip surgery from earlier this summer is mostly behind her now. Please do continue to keep her in your prayers.

Our beloved Sister, Mary Watson, went home to be with the Lord in October. She worked for many years with the deaf in the DR Congo, and after “retiring”, worked with Berta at the home office in Detroit.

Pray also for us as we prepare for the 7th annual Congo Bible Camp. Lord wiling, we’ll be teaching the book of Colossians. Pray with us that my wife Sheryl will be able to return next year. Her presence was sorely missed, and many of the ladies expressed a desire to have her there to teach them and answer their questions.

So much work, so little time! Indeed, your continued prayers are coveted.

In Him,

Tim Foster

Summer 2013

He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.  – 1 Cor 3:8-9

Dear CMD Partners!

It’s exciting to step back and take a look at the work of God going on in Nigeria.  Despite the many challenges and frustrations, His faithful hand is evident. As we continue to plant and water the fields, He continues to provide growth, sustain His people, carry His Word, and shape His people into the image of His Son.  In this prayer letter, I’d like to focus specifically on the work in Nigeria and share how God has used Christian Mission for the Deaf to bring honor and glory to His Name.

CMD’s History in Nigeria

CMD Nigeria, 1960

CMD’s Ibadan School – 1960

My recent trip to Nigeria brought back a number of childhood memories. The buildings have changed over the past 35 years (not always for the better), the roads are more congested, the water, electrical and telephone networks are certainly not what I remembered, and many of the people I knew as a child are no longer living locally. Yet in the midst of all these changes, God’s presence is evident, and His actions compel us to praise Him.

In the 60s, my father, Andrew Foster, moved CMD’s base of operations from the country of Ghana to Nigeria. Our family eventually settled in Ibadan, the city where I was born. As CMD’s work among the deaf in Nigeria grew, God blessed us with a spacious facility to use as a training center, church, headquarters office and missionary family residence. Through the years, God has blessed the deaf mightily through this center, training and equipping thousands of leaders, both hearing and deaf, not only from Nigeria, but from all over Africa.

CMD Nigeria, 1975

CMD Nigerian Center – 1975

Our Ibadan center is now led by Brother Emmanuel Ilabor. God brought him to CMD in the ‘60s as one of the first deaf students to enroll in the Ibadan school for the deaf. After receiving a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from New York’s Rochester Institute of Technology and a Master of Education degree from Maryland’s McDaniel College, he returned to Ibadan to carry forward the Lord’s work.

CMD 1996

CMD Nigerian Center – Expanded in 1996

Under his leadership, the center has seen strong growth with the addition of classes for elementary and secondary deaf students, the building of a large sanctuary (which also doubles as classroom space), the addition of a science lab, computer lab, carpentry shop, shoe repair shop and more. With the assistance of over 45 staff members, our Ibadan center is well-equipped to serve not only the spiritual needs of the deaf, but also the social, educational and vocational needs of over 150 deaf students. The overcrowded center is hardly recognizeable from the place I lived as a small child. And it continues to grow!

Outreach

Although our center is in Ibadan, our focus spans the entire country.  After young men and women are trained to teach and lead the deaf, they leave Ibadan and take the Gospel with them.  Over the past decades, we’ve been blessed to see the establishment of over 25 churches for the deaf all across Nigeria. These churches continue to maintain close relationships with each other, collaborating on evangelism efforts, sharing educational resources, and pooling their staffing. It’s amazing to see God’s faithfulness as He adds to the Body of Christ.

Emmanuel Ilabor, Director of Nigerian Center

Emmanuel Ilabor, Director of Nigerian Center

The need for more leaders with seminary education is acute. Pray that God will raise up more leaders and equip them to feed His flock.

A Vision for the Future

Despite the center being filled to capacity, there are still many more deaf people who need to be reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  God laid it on the hearts of several former students, friends and churches in the USA and London to raise funds to purchase 39 acres of undeveloped land on the outskirts of Ibadan. Not only is the property ideal for expanding our operations in Nigeria, but the stream on the north edge of the property makes the land convient for agricultural activity as well. The long range site plan includes much more than buildings for classrooms, boarding rooms and administrative offices.  We’re also planning for a youth camp, a small farm, a fishery and a conference center.  The plans are ambitious, but we believe God is leading us slowly and surely in this direction. Construction is underway, but moving incrementally as the Lord provides the funds. The foundation for the girls’ dorms were laid last spring, and this summer, construction of a 12-classroom building has commenced.

Pray with us that the Lord will continue to guide Brother Emmanuel and his staff during this exciting time of growth. Pray also that the Lord will continue to richly bless this aspect of CMD’s work so that we can continue training and reaching more of the deaf with His Word.

On the Home Front

Berta recently fell and broke her right hip, and recovery has been a bit slow. After a few weeks of post-surgery rehab, she returned to Faith’s home this week.  As long as the pain is kept low, her sprits remain high and she takes each day with a grateful attitude. Please keep her in your prayers during this special trial.

Keep me in your prayers as well: this August, at our Congo Bible Camp, we hope to bring Yves Beosso, our director from our school in Chad as a guest speaker. There are a few hurdles we need to cross in order to make it all work, but we’re trusting God to meet the need and lead the way.

Indeed, your continued prayers are coveted.

In Him,

Tim Foster

Winter 2012

I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.  – Jer 3:15

Dear CMD Partners!

As I was studying Jeremiah 3 this past week, the Lord brought verse 15 to the forefront of my thoughts. In the midst of calling His people to repent, He says that if they will return to Him, He will send them shepherds after His own heart; shepherds who will feed them with knowledge and understanding. This immediately reminds us of the Good Shepherd of John 10 who lays His life down for His sheep, calls them by name, and how they follow Him. My heart resonates with the challenge before each of us to emulate our Savior: to tend to His flock, providing knowledge and understanding of the One who laid down His life for us! Thank you so much for joining in with us as we work to reach the deaf of Africa!201302Q1

An Overview

I want to use this issue of Deaf Witness to provide an overview of CMD’s current deployment, and lay out the strategies we want to pursue over the next few years. Although God has used CMD over the past sixty years to open dozens of schools and churches for the deaf across west and central Africa, these days, our focus is aimed primarily at four countries: Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria. Through schools, camps and pastoral training classes, we aim to equip the deaf in establishing schools and churches across their countries and beyond.

N’Djamena, Chad

Population: 11.5M
Estimated deaf: 11,500

With a new school added just a few months ago, there are now a total of thirteen schools for the deaf across the southern portions of Chad. There are none in the Muslim north. All but one of the schools are directly related to the original three schools started by CMD many years ago. Financial constraints prevent us from actively supporting more than our center in N’Djamena, the country’s capital, so the remaining schools support themselves as best they can. Six schools form the evangelical backbone of deaf ministry in Chad, with our school in N’Djamena as the epicenter. Led by Yves Beosso, the center serves as a deaf church, a community outreach center, and a school for about 55 students (including several boarding students from the north). The center is made of mostly mud-brick. Several rooms are crumbling and in dire need of reconstruction before the rainy season hits in a few months.

We’re thankful to have received a sizable land grant from the government, but if we don’t build a permanent structure on it soon, we risk losing it should the government find another use for the land.

During the Easter break, Brother Beosso organizes a nation-wide Easter camp for the deaf, alternating locations with the other five evangelical schools. Typical attendance at the camp is around 150 people.

PRAY FOR… More new leaders. Bible school training for leaders. Funding for new construction and expansion.

Likasi, Democratic Republic of Congo

Population: 67.7M
Estimated deaf: 67,700
Regional population: 450,000
Estimated deaf: 450
Located in the southern portion of the DR Congo, this school offers both primary and secondary education for the deaf. Daniel Ngoy has been the school’s director since the school’s inception in 1985. The school serves 85 students, 50 of whom are in grades 1-6. Oversight is provided by the local assembly in Likasi, and the elders are glad to share property and resources with the school. World Vision has helped with a much needed expansion, allowing them to build new classrooms for high school students. Because the government pays meager teacher salaries, and parents are reluctant to spend money to educate deaf children, deaf teachers are subjected to huge salary discrepancies when compared to teachers at hearing schools.

When the deaf graduate from our school in Likasi, many of them move two hours south to Lubumbashi, the capital of the province, where jobs and resources for the deaf are more plentiful. The deaf schools and churches in Lubumbashi have been operating independently of CMD for many years now, but we would like to expand our ministry and pastoral training efforts in both Likasi and Lubumbashi.

PRAY FOR… Faithful teachers despite financial strain. Strong spiritual leaders to carry on the work in Likasi.

Uvira, Democratic Republic of Congo

Population: 67.7M
Estimated deaf: 67,700
Regional population: 378,000
Estimated deaf: 378
Located on the eastern border of the DR Congo, the school in Uvira is one of the newest schools opened by CMD. Pililo Amani has been the director these past eleven years, and his love and enthusiasm for the deaf is infectious. Because the city does not have a large presence of healthy evangelical churches, the deaf in Uvira have very few options for spiritual resources and growth. My wife and I, along with missionaries Tom and Kathy Lindquist and their daughter Renee, lead an annual Bible camp which draws deaf participants from the region, including the neighboring countries of Rwanda and Burundi.

We’re trying to supplement Uvira’s academic and spiritual vitality by collaborating with the school for the deaf in Bujumbura, Burundi, a short 45 minutes across the border to the east. The deaf school in Burundi, located in the mission center managed by CMML missionaries Jesse and Joy Johnson, has been operating independently of CMD for many years now, and the growth there has been nothing short of stellar! My wife and I had the opportunity to visit with the Johnsons when we were in Bujumbura last year, and were truly thrilled to see how God has been using their multi-faceted ministry to impact Burundi.

PRAY FOR… Spiritual resources and leaders. Important decisions about the secondary school. Improved relations with the deaf ministry in Burundi.

Ibadan, Nigeria

Population: 162M
Estimated deaf: 162,000
Regional population: 1.3M
Estimated deaf: 1,300
Since the mid-60’s, the center in Ibadan has been CMD’s center of operations in Africa (and our home when we lived overseas). Now led by Brother Emmanuel Ilabor, the center has grown tremendously, serving over 200 primary and secondary deaf students, many of whom are boarding students. The facility has expanded well beyond capacity, but plans for new construction are on hold due to lack of funds.

During the summer, the center hosts a deaf leadership/training conference, attracting deaf and hearing leaders from all parts of Africa. As a result of the strong spiritual leadership, there are over 25 churches for the deaf all across the country.

Each spring, 700-800 deaf people convene at one of seven locations for an annual Easter Camp. Lord Willing, I’ll be returning to Ibadan, the city I was born in and haven’t been in since 1976. I’ll be helping with teaching for the Easter Camp near Ibadan. I’ll also get a chance to put my computer networking skills to use (my “tent-making” vocation here in the States) by upgrading their aging computers, network and Internet service.

PRAY FOR… Continued spiritual growth. Boldness for those living in the Muslim-controlled north. Funds for expansion. Travel as I head to Ibadan in March.

Indeed, your continued prayers are coveted.

In Him,

Tim Foster

Fall 2012

Dear CMD Partners!

Thank you for your continued partering with us as we strive to hold forth the pure Word of God and build up His saints in these silent corners of the world. Your faithfulness is truly a blessing.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC of CONGO

We’re praising God for an excellent week-long camp in the city of Uvira last month. The theme of the 2012 Congo Bible Camp was “Heroes of the Faith,” and my wife and I, along with the Lindquists, taught the books of Joshua, Ruth, Esther and James. We spent a good bit of time examining the lives of these Bible characters, and teaching how proper faith in God manifests itself in works and endures till the end.  There has been quite a bit of violence and political upheaval in the northern regions of the province where we met, so we were quite pleased to see over 50 people attend the camp.  It was thrilling to see their hearts stirred and challenged, as the campers asked many thoughtful and probing questions, wanting a deeper understanding of God and how to live out their faith in the face of spiritual, political and economic hardship.  Our 16-yr old daughter, Noelle, joined us for the event, and despite not knowing much sign language, she was a tremendous help.  It was a good and challenging experience for her to serve on the front-lines, and the campers were quite taken with her.

One of the highlights of the camp is the evening pastoral class that we offer to the evangelists and pastors at the camp.  It continues to grow in popularity, and this year, I was pleased (and surprised) to see 5 hearing people join the deaf pastors in the intense teaching that we offer.  The first day of the class always focuses on a detailed presentation of the Gospel: the nature of God’s holiness, the sinful state of man, the need for substitutionary atonement and the sanctifying work of Christ. This presentation always exposes underlying confusion and questions about the nature of salvation. It is a solemn reminder that they struggle against a variety of subtle false teachings from Jehovah’s Witnesses, animismand  people teaching works-based salvation.  We spent the remainder of the week teaching specific methods for proper Biblical contextual interpretation and exegetical preaching of the Word of God. As always, much of our ‘free time’ was spent with long hours answering and discussing the implications of various doctrinal issues.

Uvira

Our school in Uvira is facing several changes this year.  We’ve recently expanded the school by offering secondary classes, but enrollment for those classes has been lower than anticipated.  We’re also needing to overhaul the sewing classes, as the equipment used in the past is now beyond repair. We need at least three new sewing machines to get the school back on track.  These machines will enable the students to make desperately needed uniforms, and will enable them to continue learning vocational skills.

We’re also seeing an exciting opportunity on the horizon. While in Bujumbura last month, God brought us to Noel, a Burundi national who worked for many years with Andrew Foster over 25 years ago. To this day, he continues to work tirelessly in the teaching and training of the deaf, and fending off the spread of false doctrines from Jehovah’s Witnesses and other sources.  His experience with deaf education and doctrinal integrity makes him a valuable resource in dealing with some of the particulars we’re seeing in our school in Uvira. For most of the month of October, Lord Willing, Noel will be in Uvira, collaborating with our school and providing insight and guidance.

Pray that the campers will remain faithful as they return to their cities, jobs and schools for the fall.  Pray that the pastors will continue to faithfully live and teach the Word of God. Pray that the rampant influence of false doctrine will not take hold in the hearts and minds of these men and women.

NIGERIA

The fall semester at our school in Ibadan is off to a slow start, but Emmanuel, our school director, expects to reach 200 students before the end of the semester.  As with many other schools in the area, parents struggle the first few months with getting their children situated. There is a positive aspect to this delay: Our center in Ibadan is facing overcrowding, bursting at the seams with higher enrollments each year. Due to lack of funds, dormitory construction at our new site has stopped for a time.  Emmanuel and the staff are diligently seeking funding options in order to continue construction.

Getting college education is a challenge for Nigerians, and being deaf certainly doesn’t make things easier.  By the grace of God, however, a number of the graduates from our school are going to colleges and seminaries in Nigeria, and four of our graduates are continuing their college education at Howard College in Big Spring, Texas.  An education in the USA is a dream-come-true, but it also presents a number of challenges and temptations that are not readily available in Nigeria.

Please pray that God will provide more funding so that construction will continue. Pray that these students will stay faithful in their preparation for God’s calling as they continue their academic studies.

CHAD

After a busy summer of sign-language courses for parents, expansion planning, and more, Yves and his staff are excited to get the fall semester underway.   Enrollment is picking up briskly, but the fall season also brings massive floods, and this year is one of the worst.  In many ways, the Chari River is a lifeline for N’Djamena, the country’s capital, but when it floods, it leaves disaster in its wake.  Our school is on the outskirts of N’Djamena, about a mile south of the Chari River.  The recent rains have been particularly heavy, and the swelling river is now within 300 yards of the school.  Because most of the homes and buildings in this area of town are made of mud-brick, it doesn’t take much flooding to do a lot of damage. The last time our school experienced flooding like this, there were several deaths in the area, and many of the mud-brick homes were destroyed, including the school’s mud-brick restroom facilities.  We thank God that the local government responded quickly to the disaster, going so far as to build and a new concrete restroom facility to replace the mud-brick building.

These heavy rains also contribute to the deterioration of the mud-brick classrooms.  Two of the classrooms are deteriorating to the point that they are becoming too dangerous for students to use.  We estimate that it will cost around $16,000 to rebuild these classrooms. Please pray with us that flooding won’t do any damage. Pray also that we can quickly raise the necessary funds and get construction underway.

HOME

In the Eastern Congo, we find that many deaf pastors long to understand complex topics, but frequently have incorrect and inconsistent doctrines.  Consequently, we see many questions about the Trinity, atonement, election, the Holy Spirit, baptism, regeneration, sanctification and more. The problem is two-fold: there is very little advanced Bible study material available (especially in French), and their lack of advanced language skills prevent these men from understanding whatever material might be available. What they want, and can’t find, are complex Biblical topics presented in simple language.  To address this need, we’re writing a study titled “The Gospel of John: Knowing the Father and the Son,” where pastors study the entire Gospel of John section by section, paying particular attention to the themes, issues and implications John teaches his readers. Lord willing, we’ll expand this in the future to other books like Genesis, Romans and the Pastoral Epistles.

Pray with us that God will direct our efforts to clearly communicate His Word and His truths to the deaf in Africa.

Indeed, your continued prayers are coveted.

In Him,

Tim Foster

Spring 2012

Dear CMD Partners!

Thank you for your continued partnering with us as we strive to hold forth the pure Word of God and build up His saints in these silent corners of the world. Your faithfulness is truly a blessing.

CHAD

I wasn’t able to make it to Nigeria this spring as I had hoped, but I was able to spend almost two weeks in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, and helped at the 16th Annual Easter Camp for the Deaf. Due to time and financial constraints, I traveled alone while my wife, Sheryl, stayed home in Texas with the kids.

Most of the campers lived locally, but many braved 6 to 12 hours of grueling “African-styled travel” to get to the camp. Over 220 participants – 40 more than expected – gathered at our school in N’Djamena for a week of Bible teaching and good fellowship. The teaching was solid, the Spirit was working, and hearts were convicted. More than 20 people gave their lives to the Lord. Praise God!

The theme for the week was “Who is Christ.” Teaching was divided between five teachers, and I had been asked to teach on the death and resurrection of Christ. A typical day would begin with devotions, followed by breakfast and 2-3 hours of morning teaching. The campers then divided up into four groups to do further study on the material that was taught, followed by a contest to see which team could get the most number of correct answers. Each afternoon included additional teaching on a variety of subjects.

In my afternoon session, I taught on the seven Hebrew Feasts (Lev 23), and showed how each of the Spring Feasts pointed to Christ, and was fulfilled on the exact same day the feast was celebrated by the Jews. A number of the campers commented that this was new teaching for them, and helped them gain a better appreciation and understanding of the work of Christ and how He fulfilled prophecy. (Handouts are available online at CMDeaf.org/resources.)
Praise God for His redeeming love and the professions of faith! Pray that the campers will remain faithful in their commitment to daily personal study of the Scriptures. Pray that these young men and women will stay rooted, growing in His grace.

Noura
I would like to tell you about Noura. She’s 11 years old and comes from a Muslim family in the northern parts of Chad. She’s fun-loving, hard-working, loves to help cook and clean, and like the other kids, she was quite intrigued by my camera, laughing at the photos and videos of herself.

Noura - Doesn't even know her own name

When I first asked her name, she just smiled and withdrew a bit. At first I thought she was shy or perhaps didn’t understand my sign language, but the other kids quickly explained that there are no schools for the deaf in the Muslim region where she comes from. A missionary found her and convinced her parents to send her to our school. She’s been living there for a few months and is now starting formal education for the first time. All her life, she’s only used rudimentary gestures to communicate. Not only does she not know how to read or write, she doesn’t know sign-language and can’t communicate with anyone – she doesn’t even know her own name! If her Muslim parents let her stay in our Christian school, within the year, she will learn her name for the first time, and a few months later, will learn the name of Jesus Christ! Noura serves as a vivid reminder of the impact deafness causes and how God works through you and CMD in this unique ministry. It’s also a sobering reminder that for every Noura, there are hundreds who live beyond the reach of a deaf school and live out their entire lives without either the ability or opportunity to hear the name of Jesus Christ.
Pray that Noura’s parents will leave her in our school. Pray for Noura’s education and salvation. Pray also that the Lord will enable us to support more schools and ministries for the deaf in unreached parts of Africa.

Moundou
In recent years, one of our schools in Moundou has been financially supported by CBM, a German organization that primarily works with the blind. However three years ago, CBM restructured their operations in Chad and now no longer supports a number of projects in Chad, including the school in Moundou. In a regular school, the nominal government salary would be supplemented by student tuitions. Unfortunately for a deaf school, most African parents don’t see the wisdom of spending hard-earned money to educate their deaf children, so we have to rely on God to use other means to meet operating expenses.

Due to the cutbacks, several staff members had to seek employment elsewhere. Those that remained have been struggling under the financial strain, becoming “tentmakers,” daily relying on God to make ends meet.  Two of the Moundou staff members, David and Madjibe, taught at the camp, and their passion for God,

Deaf Leadership Training - 1986

His Word and His people was clearly evident to all. We’re excited at the prospect of raising financial support for this wonderful work of God in Moundou.
Please pray with us that God will provide the necessary funds to help alleviate the daily financial burdens for this school and its staff members.

(Don’t miss the photo gallery at the bottom of this post. It contains photos of the camp as well as the city of N’Djamena, where our school is located.)

NIGERIA

I’ve received very positive reports from Emmanuel Ilabor, our director in Nigeria. Over 800 deaf met at seven different Easter Camps all across Nigeria. Some of them had to travel through hostile territory controlled by the Boko-Haram, a violent militant Islamic group fighting to instill Sharia law across all of Nigeria. Much of their violence is aimed directly at Christians, so travel in these eastern regions of Nigeria is not safe. God sustained the campers and kept them from harm. Across all the camps, over 60 people made professions of faith and many more rededicated their lives to the Lord. Praise God!

In our last report, we mentioned that the government bought some land from our deaf center in order to facilitate road expansion. That money has been put to good use to begin construction of new dormitories. The additional space will be a welcome relief for the deaf center, as their facility is overcrowded with some 200 students. The building crew ran into some opposition from some disruptive locals who demanded extortion money. Thank God that the clash ended peacefully. Before the confrontation was over, they requested prayer for some of their people, and Emmanuel and his staff were able to pray with them and show true Christian love in the face of opposition.
Please pray that the Lord will continue to provide finances to complete the construction so that the Gospel work among the deaf can continue unimpeded. Please pray that those who made professions of faith will continue to grow in the Lord. Pray that the group of people who sought to disrupt the dorm construction will forsake their ways and seek God instead.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC of CONGO

Sheryl and I are preparing for our fall trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo. This year, Lord willing, we’ll be hosting a camp in Uvira, near the southern border of Burundi. Tentative plans for now are to host the camp in the 3rd week of August. We’re looking forward to partnering with the Lindquists again, and teaching believers how to build tangible faith.

Since the work among the deaf is much stronger in Burundi, we’re anticipating high attendance from campers coming across the border.  It will be an excellent opportunity to re-establish relationships and broaden our search for new leaders.
Pray that the camp will be properly funded, that the teaching will be true to God’s Word and readily assimilated by all campers. Pray especially as we work to identify a new generation of leaders who can be further trained to rightly divide the Word of God and teach younger believers.

HOME

Thanks for continuing to remember Berta in your prayers. Although her mobility and communication remain impaired, her health is steady and she is, as always, in good spirits.

We’re looking for new Bible study material ideally suited for the deaf in Africa, especially in French-speaking countries. In particular, we’re seeing many people wanting a deeper understanding of the Bible, yet they’re constrained by limited formal education, language translation issues, and limited access to shipped material. We’re considering writing our own material and making it available as sign-language videos and PDFs on the CMD website. We’d also like to provide more material on how to train leaders. It’s no substitute for one-on-one sustained discipleship, but they’re necessary tools nonetheless.
Pray with us that God will direct our efforts to find and/or produce new Bible study material well suited for the deaf in Africa.

Indeed, your continued prayers are coveted.

In Him,

Tim Foster

 

Winter 2011

Dear CMD Partners!

As Christmas draws near, we reflect on the year that God has brought us through and the many ways He has shown Himself to be Lord of all. Sheryl and I were able to spend almost 3 weeks in the eastern Congo this past August and September. While we continue to see fruit in the work that CMD is doing, we’re reminded that there is still much to do in this field that is so white for harvest.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Goma
Sheryl and I had a wonderful time in the north-eastern province of the DRC, teaching with the Tom and Kathy Lindquist at the 2011 Congo Bible Camp. Much of what we taught this year was shaped by what we had seen in the past. Last year, the deaf leaders asked endless questions, showing a strong hunger for in-depth teaching on the details of the Gospel, the means of sanctification, and methods of Bible Study. So we made specific plans this year to provide teaching that would meet their need. We were told to expect 50 attendees, 15 of whom would be in the special evangelist/leadership class. To our pleasant surprise, we had over 60 attendees, and 19 in the evangelist class! We were thankful to see the participants engaged and studying hard, indifferent to the dirt floor, lack of electricity and limited food. More importantly, we’re thrilled at the emails we continue to get from the attendees. Pray that the Lord will continue to use these seeds to help them grow as leaders and teachers in their deaf communities and beyond.

To see more photos and read blog posts from our trip, please visit www.CMDeaf.org/cbc2011

Likasi
After the week-long camp, I traveled to the southern part of the Congo to visit our school in Likasi for a few days. Andrew Foster, my father, was the last person from the States to visit them, and that was back in ’87 or so, shortly before the Lord took him home. The school year hadn’t started yet, but there were a few students that would come to the school grounds daily for fellowship. They were thrilled to have a visitor from the States, and we had a wonderful time of fellowship and encouragement.

In meeting with the school staff and leaders, I got a chance to learn quite a bit about the expansions they have done in their ministry, and the variety of unique challenges they now face as their school is approaching 90 students. Unfortunately, their local support is waning and due to financial cutbacks, the school has lost a few teachers in the past couple of years. The remaining teachers are earning about 1/3 the salary they would earn if they worked at neighboring government schools, but Daniel Ngoy, the school’s administrator, has been able to convince them to stay and serve a higher calling. Please pray for these men and women and their families, that God would be gracious to them for their self-sacrifice. (If you would like to make donations specifically for their school, mention “Likasi School” with your gift.) To see photos and read blog posts from our trip, please visit www.CMDeaf.org/cbc2011

Uvira
After quite a few challenges, our school in Uvira has now expanded to offer secondary school education for the deaf. Praise God for His provisions! Currently, twelve students are enrolled, and we expect more before the end of the school year. Pililo Amani, the school’s director, has had to hire additional staff now that the school is approaching 60 students. Pray that Pililo and his staff won’t be overwhelmed as the student body continues to grow.

On a somber note, please pray for a stronger presence of solid evangelical churches in Uvira, both in the hearing and deaf communities. There has been rapid growth of feel-good, “prosperity gospel” ministries in this region of the Congo, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to stress to young believers the fallacy of this mindset.

NIGERIA

Due to time constraints, we weren’t able to visit our training center in Ibadan. We’re hoping to be able to visit both Nigeria and Chad in the spring, but financial constraints may dictate otherwise. Emmanuel Ilabor, the director, reports that the 20th annual fall leadership conference was “a huge success through the grace of God”. The theme was Leadership With Godly Character, and many pastors and teachers taught and shared in good fellowship.

Several years ago, the Lord blessed the center with 39 acres of undeveloped land on the outskirts of Ibadan. Emmanuel and his staff immediately began raising money for new school buildings, but were unable to make significant progress. This past summer, the government expanded the road in front of the property and had to purchase land from the center. Although this is a small loss in property, Emmanuel estimates they’ll be able to build ten classrooms with this unexpected infusion of funds. The long-range vision is to have a facility to support 300 dormitory students, and Emmanuel and his team are seeking to raise another $138,000 toward this goal. Please pray diligently for this ambitious project. Over the past few decades, the center in Ibadan has been effective in training thousands of deaf students and leaders, and has helped start over 20 deaf churches throughout Nigeria. The development of the property will be a wonderful blessing for this ministry.

At Home

Thank you for your continued prayer regarding Berta’s health. She has good days and bad days, but over the past few months, we’ve seen more good days than bad, and even a slight increase in her speech capability. As always, she’s full of smiles as she rests at her daughter’s home.

Sheryl and I would like to make a trip to Nigeria and Chad this spring. The stagnant economy is affecting all aspects of CMD’s ministry efforts, so pray for the Lord’s wisdom as we seek to be responsible stewards and faithful servants. Indeed, your continued prayers are coveted.

In Him,

Tim Foster

Spring 2011

Dear CMD Partners!

The refreshing green of Spring is certainly making its mark on the landscape of our hearts and the work the Lord has set before our hands!

Democratic Republic of Congo
Join with us in praising the Lord for the re-opening of a school for the deaf in the city of Gemena, located in the NW corner of the country. A few years ago we had to close the school due to a lack of healthy leadership. The local evangelical church that was associated with the school has redoubled its efforts and put in place two men of excellent character with a passion for the Word of God and the deaf. We’ve been thrilled with the response from the church and are thanking the Lord that the school hit the ground running with over 30 children. Their resources are very meager as they are meeting in the church, but our Lord is faithful, providing these children with the means to learn more about their Savior!

On the opposite side of the country, in the city of Uvira, plans are underway to expand our deaf school to offer secondary classes (grades 6-12) this fall. The deaf students that have been made aware of the new addition are ecstatic beyond belief as it will be the only secondary school for the deaf in the region.

Currently, deaf students wanting more than an elementary education have to struggle through a hearing public high-school where no one knows sign-language, and a translator is not provided for them. They usually end up paying higher tuition than their hearing counterparts, and frequently have to pay for additional tutoring on top of that. For this reason, many deaf have given up trying to further their education, and precious few have made it past the equivalent of 9th grade. Starting this fall, Lord Willing, all that will change, as deaf students will finally have an opportunity to take secondary classes in an environment suited to their handicap. It will be a welcome answer to our long prayers. There are a few obstacles left to resolve before we can press ahead (Bible training for the staff, additional staffing, school materials, etc), so pray with us that the Lord will open these doors so that the deaf in the Eastern Congo can further their education.

Chad
Director Yves Beosso is running full steam with his 15th Annual Easter Camp. The theme of the retreat is “The Armor of God”. The teaching will be shared by several men who have been groomed for leadership and have spent several months in preparing for all aspects of the camp: the logistics of the camp scheduling, transportation, food and lodging, as well as the sermon material and group discussion assignments. The 14-page syllabus they prepared for the camp is a shining testament not only to God’s use of Yves’ training, but also to their diligence and passion for teaching the Word of God in a structured, thorough and clear fashion. We’re excited for what the Lord will do at the camp and in the coming years as these young leaders take on more responsibilities and challenges. Pray with us that the camp will be an overwhelming success, that the Holy Spirit will invigorate attendees to be well-studied and well-equipped with the Word of God, and that Christ will be honored in their fellowship and encouragement for one another.

Meanwhile, back at the day-school in the city of Walia, Director Beosso reports that classes are moving along well and students are doing well in their studies. In the torrential rains and floodwaters that wiped out large portions of the city several months ago, the school’s toilet facilities were destroyed. We’re thankful to the Lord for providing a grant enabling them to rebuild this very necessary facility!

Nigeria
Director Emmanuel Ilabor is finishing up a trip to the States where he was able to present the work of CMD’s center in Nigeria to several churches and deaf schools.

The 41st National Deaf Easter Camp in Nigeria is currently underway, with an anticipated 700 attendees from all over Nigeria. The high participation is due to the planting of 25 churches for the deaf all over the country of Nigeria – churches that sprang from the two churches planted by Andrew Foster back in the ’60s. We’re thrilled to hear that these churches are self-governing and growing strongly in the Lord! Last year, 34 people were baptized at the deaf camp. We’re eagerly looking to see how many the Lord will draw to Himself this year through the Easter Camp. What a thrill it is to see such a continual reaping of this very white field of harvest! Pray with us that the Lord will also grant a bountiful harvest this camp season!

At Home
Thank you for your continued prayer regarding Berta’s health. She rests comfortably at her daughter’s home and finds something praiseworthy in every day. Her ability to communicate her thoughts continues to slowly deteriorate, but that doesn’t stop her from insisting that I keep her updated with every last detail of our work. Bless her heart – she laughs at me every time I try to remind her that she’s retired!

Please remember the Crumley family in your prayers. Gelnn Crumley went home to be with the Lord in February. As a long-term missionary in the Congo, he was a faithful friend to Andrew Foster and to CMD. We’ve been blessed by his service as our board chairman for many years and he will be greatly missed by his wife, 6 children, 22 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren and his many spiritual children in the darkest jungles of Africa. What an amazing legacy! His daughter’s family (Kathy Lindquist) works closely with us in the Eastern Congo.

Sheryl and I are looking forward to returning to Africa in August & September. We had hoped to be able to catch part of Emmanuel’s annual leadership training that he conducts in Nigeria the first week of August, but it looks like that door is closed. Pray with us that we’ll still be able to visit our schools in Chad, Nigeria and Likasi (southern part of the Congo), and help lead a camp in Goma (north east Congo with Tom and Kathy Lindquist).

Indeed, your continued prayers are coveted.

In Him,

Tim Foster